Protect Your Devices

Becoming Cyber-Mindful

Protect Your Computer

When we talk about “keeping a clean machine” we really mean two things:

  1. Keeping updated (read: most secure) operating system and device software ON
  2. Keeping malware and viruses OFF

There are several easy steps you can take to secure your device and ensure your operating system and device software is up-to-date.

  • Log out of your machine nightly to receive automatic updates.
  • When prompted by your device (smartphone, computer, etc.) to install updates, install the updates.
  • Regularly back up data.
  • Only download software from trusted sources.
  • Clean out old files on your computer/phone hard drive and/or cloud storage servers to save space and improve speed and performance.
  • Delete files you don’t need anymore, especially if they contain personal information. If you’re the victim of a data breach, the more you’ve saved, the more information about you that’s potentially exposed.

Protect Your Mobile Phone

How can I keep my phone secure if it is stolen? First of all, set a PIN fingerprint or password to lock your phone. Also make sure your phone is encrypted – iPhones are auto-encrypted; Androids: go to “settings” → “storage” → “phone storage encryption”

Is my phone immune to malware and viruses? No. Phones are susceptible to the same issues as your computer, so make sure you are updating software and apps whenever prompted. Make sure apps and other downloads are from reputable sources so criminals cannot gain our information.

Is there such a thing as phone antivirus? Yes! If you’ve got a smartphone, it’s essentially a computer in your pocket. And computers need antivirus software. One good (and free) option is Avast (which works for both iOS and Android devices).

Is there a good way to check where links within emails are *really* pointing from my phone? Yes. On iPhones and Androids, you can “press and hold” the link to reveal the actual target address for you to assess. If it’s not going where you expected, don’t click it.

Bottom line: Be just as cyber-mindful on your phone as you are on your computer.